We knew this day would come. In fact, we even knew the date it would happen. But this morning it finally sunk in … Loretto Dennis (“Lou”) Szucs is officially retiring today.
I am filled with mixed emotions as while I am thrilled for her to be able to spend more time with her family, her wise counsel and incredible spirit will be missed.
Lou ‘officially’ joined Ancestry in 1992 as employee number one, and to say she has been through a few changes would be a massive understatement. She has also worn many hats over the last 23 years, but none seem better suited than that of Vice President of Community Relations. As a widely-respected and beloved member of the genealogy community, Lou has represented Ancestry at conferences and inside genealogical societies, including holding a seat on several boards. She is a trusted voice in the community and a wonderful community advocate.
There have been several memorable moments with Lou, but I think the first time I met her was my favorite. I had been with the company for just over two months and decided to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference (FGS) taking place in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Upon arrival, I went straight to the Ancestry booth on the show floor. Everyone was pretty busy, so I stood by the side, waiting for a break so I could introduce myself. Lou walked up to me and asked if I needed help. I explained who I was, she immediately hugged me and welcomed me to the show. She then proceeded to introduce me to everyone else there. That is Lou. Always there to help you, connect you or guide you.
After the introductions, I looked closely at Lou’s badge and was floored by all the ribbons she had. If ever there was a picture that could show just how involved in the genealogy community she is, this is it (knowing this is only a small subset of the programs she is involved in).
Lou is an accomplished author – penning several books, including The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, a genealogical staple found in the home of most serious genealogists. She is invited to speak at conferences and societies and her tutorials are always entertaining and informative as she is a natural born storyteller. She has been a guiding light to 1000s of people, helping them walk down the right genealogical path. Lou believes her friends are your friends and she is willing to connect you to anyone in her contact list. Her passion for family history is infectious and she has inspired many of us to dig deep into our own stories. To top it all off, Lou is incredibly sweet. Sugary, but in a tasty, just enough to keep you wired way, not the generating cavities kind of way.
Lou’s mentorship and guidance is something cherished by many of us here. Her contribution to the field cannot be overstated, and we have been proud and grateful for her representation of Ancestry.
Please join us in thanking Lou for her decades of service to Ancestry and in wishing her all the best in her retirement.
All I ask is even with all her newly found ‘free time’ that she leaves some Kelly’s for her daughter Juliana to find in their family tree. (you are welcome Juliana) 🙂
We would love to hear your Lou stories and ask that you either share them in the comments below or share your own blog or social post using the #LoveYouLou hashtag.